1979 Gottlieb Genie
How do you know you're addicted to pinball? When you buy one, even though you don't have any space to put it. Yeah, this is the 8th pinball machine I've owned. I've sold three - so with this one, that makes a total of five at my house right now. ....but I only have room for four. Hmmmm...
Anyway, here's the story behind the Genie. I saw her pop up on Craig's list while at work about a month ago. After a few emails/texts, and then talking to the owner's wife on the phone, I made the hour drive to check her out. The backglass looked perfect, but the seller didn't have keys to the backbox, so I had no way to know for sure what was inside. The playfield was one of the dirtiest I've ever seen - but it didn't have any wear spots. It was listed for $500. After looking it over, I offered $250, and they accepted. So I hauled it back to the house, and set it up on the garage to repair.
Here it is - this is the 1st picture I took.
A better view of the backglass. The reds are a little faded, but otherwise it looks great!
The cabinet was in decent shape...
But as I mentioned, the playfield needed a LOT of attention
In decent shape - but very dirty.
Notice the duct tape over the kickout hole in the upper right.
The plastics are filthy, and the rubbers are shot.
Love those spider webs!
I had to drill out the lock to open the backbox.
The backglass has some very minor crackling, but overall was in great shape for being 33 years old.
More spider webs....
Opening the backbox for the 1st time.....
There's the guy responsible for those spider webs....
..and it looks like he wasn't the only bug living in this machine.
The connector I'm holding wouldn't even stay connected.
The MPU was toast. The old battery leaked, and corroded the board (very common for games this old)....
...so I paid about $350 for a replacement board (Pascal's PI-X4 from http://www.flippp.com/)
While I was waiting for that to arrive, I started to clean the playfield.
Scared the crap outa me when this guy attacked me.
I killed him with my soldering iron.
Starting the teardown of the playfield.
I had to take a ton of pics to remember how it went back together....I'm only showing you a small sample of those.
Yeah it's DIRTY there too!
....gonna need to replace that broken piece.
The kickout hole after removing the duct tape.
Most playfieled parts are ready to be cleaned.
Lots of dirty star posts.
....and dirty plastics.
Lifted up the playfield to get my first look inside the cabinet - not too bad.
Definately will need to check all these with the DMM.
I was happy to see that the underside of the playfield looked pretty good.
OMG, now I've done it - I made a clean spot.
That red shined up nicely.
Starting to look better now.
Yep, under all those cobwebs and dirt, there was a pretty good looking playfield!
My first pass - still need to take off the posts and polish a bit more.
The star posts, and the other plastics were cleaned in the dishwasher - no way I was going to tackle all those by hand.
The rest of the plastics after washing.
Starting to shine.....
I found this jammed in the coin return.
Getting off the goop from the old duct tape took some elbow grease.
Also, notice the '5' taped to that rail. I did that to remember where they go - most rails and posts were removed next.
Looking better after another round of cleaning without the posts and rails in the way.
Startting to come back together now.
So after getting the playfield cleaned, it was time to get the machine working again!
The first step was to re-pin all the connectors - like the one shown above.
Here's one that was re-pinned.
It was a lot of tiedious work.
Yes, all those needed to be re-pinned as well.
New connector housings.
Here's the old boards after removing them.
And yes, I recommend a cold beer with all pinball repairs.
The empty head...
I *HIGHLY* recommend Pascal's PI-X4 from http://www.flippp.com/
It's one board that replaces the power, MPU and driver boards.
It also adds a TON of new features (or you can stay with stock). There's a new new skill shot, you can get more than one extra ball, there's an attract mode between games, it handles millions scoring, there's a 2nd chance for quickly drained balls, animated messages for some game events, ability to customize bonus scoring (including increasing the max bonus per ball from 29 thousand to 39 thousand), special and extra ball playfield lights flash, ability to save 5 high scores with player names or initials, credits for 2nd to 5th high scores, tilt warning ('DANGER' flashes in all displays after 1st tilt), customize some rules, power saving modes, etc.....
Here's just a few of the old connector housings.
And for those that don't know - this is a crimping tool - and I'm holding a new connector.
To re-pin the connections, every wire must be clipped, stripped, and crimped onto a new connector.
Then, that new connector is pushed into a new connector housing.
....yeah, it's tiedious work - but there really isn't any way around it.
Another closeup of the old MPU......
When I was at the sellers hojuse looking at the machine, he told me "we turned it on - but it sparked!"
Yeah, looks like it did alright.
That's one toasty MPU.
Ready for the new Pascal board!
And there it is!
Since this pic was taken, I also replaced the four connectors across the bottom that I didn't originaly.
I thought I may not need to.....but I was wrong.
Also, I've since learned that pinball purists NEVER mark on the connectors. Oh well, I'll do a better job next time.
Before firing up the game for the 1st time, I wanted to rebuild the flippers.
Some mushrooming and rust on that plunger.
Plungers were filed and sanded, and I replaced the coil stops (most of which were broken) and coil sleves.
I also had to get new return springs.
After making sure it woked, I added on the PI-FX sound board.
I fired up the game...and most everything worked - except for the flippers, pop bumpers and slingshots. Basially, none of the coils worked.
I traced the problem back to the Game Over and Tilt relay switches.
They needed to be cleaned and adjusted.
Notice the tiny orange coil - when energized it opens/closes the switches.
Here's the tilt relay...
Took out the coil for cleaning....
...but I will need to re-pin the display connectors as well.
Starting to look good - and playable!
Before and After Pictures
I re-pinned three of the four displays....but still need to do the one on the bottom left.
After playing many games, there was one last problem that needed to be fixed. The four bak drop targets in the middle of the playfield didn't work 100%. Sometimes they would score, and sometimes not. Sometimes the bank would reset if all four dropped, but most of the time it would not. Sounds like bad switches, right? I thought so too, until I cleaned them and tested 'em - and still had the same problem.
I did a lot more testing, and eventually found one *problem* target. Once this specific target dropped, no other target in the bank would score, and the bank would not reset. However, if the problem target was the last one of the four dropped, the bank would reset OK. Having narrowed it down to one target, I initially thought it was being shorted - maybe the paper insulation was worn. But I took off the leaf switch and found this wasn't the problem. So I went back to the schematics and found....the diode.
Clay's Gottlieb System 1 repair guides:
All Switch Matrix Switches Have Diodes.
Because of the scanning of the strobe and return lines in the switch matrix, diodes (one way applicators) are used so there's no "cross talk" between switches. If there were no diodes on the switches, a single switch closure would make the computer think all switches on that strobe line were closed.
Gottlieb implemented switch diodes a bit differently than other companies. Nearly all other pinball makers mounted diodes directly on the switches themselves. Gottlieb however didn't do that - they mounted the switch diodes on small bakelite insulator boards under the playfield and away from the actual switches involved.
Bingo! ...that described my issue exactly. I stopped off at Radio Shack on my way home and picked up a replacement diode. Clay's guides say that you can replace the 1n270 with a 1n4148.
I used the DMM set to continuity to make sure I hade the right diode. I put one lead on the switch of the bad drop target, and other touching all the doides 'till I found the right one (verified the color of the wire also). Once I found the bad diode - I verified this by testing continuity across the diode - it was shorted, while none of the others were. Gotcha! I replaced the diode, and now the 4 bank drop targets score and reset 100%. ...I love it when things work.
The first pic below shows all the switch doides mounted just under the top rollovers, and the second shows the diode I replaced (2nd from left).
I just need to put some more LED lights in, and figure out where to put it - it can't live in the garage.
...I'll add a couple more picstures of the finished product once all the LED's are in.